SBIR Phase I: Digital Loft--An online platform for innovation education

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1843776
Agency Tracking Number: 1843776
Amount: $224,982.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: EA
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-02-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-01-31
Small Business Information
2519 Ridge Ave, Evanston, IL, 60201
DUNS: 080279512
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 My Nguyen
 (707) 849-3539
Business Contact
 My Nguyen
Phone: (707) 849-3539
Research Institution
This SBIR Phase I project will develop educational technologies to better train university students to innovate. To become innovators, students must gain practice solving real-world problems, such as reducing hospital acquired infections, narrowing education achievement gaps or reducing poverty. However, universities struggle to provide the labor intensive, face-to-face coaching necessary for student innovators to tackle real-world problems. This project develops a novel online project-based learning platform that helps instructors more effectively coach innovation project teams. The platform allows instructors to (a) create libraries of project goals to help students plan, (b) collaboratively author and remix design guides to help students develop technical skills, and (c) crowdsource large group, face-to-face critique to provide feedback on in-progress innovation work. The research and development in this project focus on overcoming the technical risks associated with creating the software libraries necessary to create new project-based learning platforms and supporting the complex computer-supported collaborative learning interactions necessary to achieve desired learning outcomes. By developing the technologies necessary to enable more effective project-based learning, this project will improve university education and create a more capable innovation workforce better able to tackle societal challenges. This SBIR Phase I project will conduct research and development of the Loft platform, which combines a novel project-based learning environment, social media platform, and software components to transform how universities train social innovators. Technical risks in this project stem from software engineering, learning sciences, and computer-supported cooperative work obstacles associated with creating novel software platforms to enable new pedagogical strategies that achieve more effective learning outcomes in project-based learning environments. Software libraries will include a more powerful and flexible set of components for creating complex object hierarchies and social media interfaces required for rapid development of the crowdsourcing and real-time collaborative editing features needed for online project-based learning platforms. The platform will introduce new computer-supported collaborative learning strategies, such as collaborative remixing of instructional content, technology-supported tailoring of instructional goals to individual project teams, and crowd critique to provide feedback as good or better than individual instructors. Research and development will test the impact of the platform on learning outcomes for innovation teams. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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